Dream Lake in Rocky Mountain National Park - Day Hikes Near Denver

April 13, 2016 Comments (2) 2-3 Miles, best winter hikes colorado, Creek or Brooks, Easy, hikes near estes park, Lake Hikes, Lakes, More than 90 Min, Mountain Range Views, Rocky Mountain National Park, visiting family friends, Wildflowers

Dream Lake in Rocky Mountain National Park

dream lake rocky mountain national park header

The hike to Dream Lake is one of the popular destination hikes in Rocky Mountain National Park–and for good reason. In the early morning hours, Dream Lake is a vision straight out of a fairy tale. This 2.2-mile, out-and-back hike begins at the Bear Lake trailhead, and passes Nymph Lake along the way. Explore the full Dream Lake hike profile below for trail map, driving directions, and all the details you need to enjoy this Colorado adventure.

Parking & Trailhead Information for Dream Lake, Colorado

The trail up to Dream Lake begins at the Bear Lake Trailhead (driving directions).In the event that parking lot at Bear Lake is full, you’ll then need to park at the Park & Ride near the Bierstadt Trailhead and take the bus into the trailhead. This service runs 7am to 7PM and more information on the RMNP shuttle bus routes can be found at this link. The trail to Dream Lake is located on your way to Bear Lake, off to the left, just before reaching the shore viewing area of Bear Lake.

The trail to Dream Lake is paved for the first half mile. The path was surfaced to deal with the erosion caused by the heavy foot traffic, and is not considered handicap accessible. After visiting the lily pad-laden Nymph Lake, the trail becomes a dirt path and begins a gentle climb towards Dream Lake. For a short stint the trail becomes more steep and demanding. On the way up, hikers will gain views of a vast landscape featuring the Keyboard of the Winds in Glacier Gorge and Longs Peak looming over everything but the distant sky.

Just before reaching Dream Lake, the trail splits. The trail to the left takes hikers to Lake Haiyaha and the trail to the right leads to Dream Lake. Dream Lake, with the beautiful backdrop of Hallet Peak, is one of the most photographed scenes in Rocky Mountain National Park. At daybreak, light from the east illuminates the stone face and crags of Hallet, and Dream Lake returns the favor by mirroring its image in her waters.

List and Links of Destinations From Bear Lake to Emerald Lake

1. Bear Lake
2. Nymph Lake – @ .5 miles
3. Dream Lake – @ 1.1 miles
4. Emerald Lake [email protected] 1.8 miles

Tips & Resources for Hiking to Dream Lake, Colorado


Map & Driving Directions

Click for Driving Directions

2 Responses to Dream Lake in Rocky Mountain National Park

  1. Savanah says:

    I am curious as to why all these hiking trails to lakes are restricted to dogs? My dog enjoys going to the lake and wandering in the woods. It seems every place I want to explore with water and woods I have to leave my dog behind.

  2. Great question. The oils from a dog’s body–and from humans as well–can have a negative impact on these high mountain lakes. Urine and feces even more so. As small bodies of water, they are easily impacted. Add to that the high numbers of people and animals visiting these places, and you can see how the environmental impact incrementally adds up over a short period of time. RMNP has other reasons related to wildlife protection why dogs are not allowed in the park.

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